Interesting letters come in all the time to Undiscovered Classics. Most times we can help and provide information quickly but some questions require research – and those can be the most fun types of letters. Here’s an interesting letter we recently received:
Dear Undiscovered Classics…
I have been trying to locate this vehicle for awhile. It was a prototype designed by Avis to put into their rental line to compete with Ford Mustangs at the time. My dad was a car dealer in and around Cleveland, Ohio and through the years supplied company cars to Fisher Foods also known as Fazios.
In 1977 my dad owned this car and from him it went to Chuck Fazio. For about 10 years I’ve been trying to locate either the car or Chuck Fazio. I’ve reached out to many people and figured I would give you a try as I am sure you travel the country. My dad is 83 now. Also while in Cleveland, Ohio he owned 2 distributorships of Meyers Manx in the 1960s.
My father does not know where the car is. Another interesting thing about the car is that Matchbox actually made a toy version of this car. If you have seen or know anything about the car please contact me.
Below are the two photos that Robert sent to us. Let’s see what we can uncover about this history of this car.
Siva is “Avis” Spelled Backwards
The Avis connection sounded interesting. I’m familiar with Ford Mustangs being rented by Hertz in the 1960s and a similar project where Budget Rental Car rented Mustang Saleen convertibles in the 1990s out in California. But the “Avis” twist was new to me.
Robert also sent us some documents showing that the car was called by another name too – “Siva.” He pointed out that “Siva” is “Avis” spelled backwards.
Searching this part of this story yielded no confirmation but it did yield information on “Siva Engineering,” and this information seemed on target. Let’s review.
Wikipedia yielded a great summary on this company, confirming that Siva had built several different models of cars. The company was based in the UK and built “specialty” cars during the 1970s – limited production automobiles of various designs based on different drivetrains and chassis. And it was here that information about the S160 Coupe was shared as followed:
“The S160 coupé was based on a still born Hillman Imp powered car exhibited at the 1969 Racing Car Show. At the 1971 show an incomplete and now Volkswagen powered S160 was displayed. The closed body has gullwing doors and rectangular pop-up headlamps and a fully trimmed bodyshell was priced at GBP 895 rising later to GBP 1,225. A bare bodyshell was however also availbale at GB P525 (via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siva_Motor_Car_Company)”
Another page on Wikipedia provided additional information and confirmed that Matchbox did built a “Siva” model:
“The Siva S160 Spyder is an automobile which was produced during the 1970s in Great Britain by Siva Engineering. Conceived as a Hillman Imp-engined GT car for British sports car manufacturer Marcos, the car was ultimately re-designed to become the Siva S160 Spyder. The S160 debuted at the 1971 Racing Car Show, utilizing a Volkswagen Beetle floor pan and running gear and featuring a gullwing coupé body. It was offered as a complete car or as a bare bodyshell. A total of twelve S160s were produced. (via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siva_S160_Spyder)”
With just 12 Siva sports cars built, there may be an opportunity for one or more of you out there to find and buy one. And what makes this even more intriguing is that several Siva Coupes appear to have been shipped to the United States and are still out there being shown or driven or my favorite….waiting to be found. So Robert may be in luck. He may be able to find his father’s car and there may be a few more of these cars out there for those of you interested too.
As for the “Avis” link… no dice. I couldn’t find any information to confirm this part of the story. Nonetheless, the Siva is a nice, sleek limited production sports car and those of you Undiscovered Classics aficionados out there may be able to “land” one of these with a bit of research, elbow grease and luck.
Go get ‘em gang! And good luck to Robert on finding his father’s car.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.
Click Here To View All Stories On “Foreign Handcrafted Cars”
I also had the Matchbox model of Siva Spyder (#41). It came in a package Track 400 along with another model of Saab Sonnet III. I would love to see an actual Siva Spyder ! I live in Florida now. firstname.lastname@example.org
Great to find more interest on this obscure car! My father imported one red version in Morocco in 1972, it was my mom’s daily driver and I remember being picked-up at school in it. I only have two or three blurry pictures of the car. My parents were in the car accessory business then and they wanted to import the car in Morocco but I see that it didn’t work out.
Anyone knows anything about the one registered in Florida visible in google pictures? I live in FL now.
I am the owner in FL live 10 miles South of Jacksonville. After a complete review mine is the #1 of the 12 built
You can email me at email@example.com
I had the toy car as a child, it was one of my favourites. One day a car transporter lorry passed my house ( they regularly used to park up very close by) and to my surprise was a Siva on board. This would have been mid seventies. I remember being really shocked and excited as I actually didn’t think it was a real car. I lived not too far from Aylesbury which I have just read it may have been manufactured there?
Siva 160 ,I had one of these in the 70s in London and loved it, mine had a VW engine but I had a Porsche 356 engine fitted. went like a rocket,lovely to drive. Mine was yellow and was mistaken for a Lamborghini Uraco. Wish I could find one now , Cheers David Bagott Devon Uk.
As it turns out I had located the car about 3 months ago. It so happens to be the same car that sat in my driveway when I was 16. I have been given new information that the car that sat in my driveway by Mr Trickett that this one was #1 of the 12 built. It is titled a Siva just like all production cars as there were no donors and was not to be a kit car. Their plans were to go into full blown production of the model but some partners pulled out. I bought this car today and brought it back to its first home.
Rory R. is correct. Lord “Shiva” is the Hindu god of Beauty and Grace. Though prononced with an “H” like “Shiva”, it is actually spelled Siva. Undoubtedly this cars name is referring to the Lord Siva.
Thanks for all the above comments. All I can go by is what I was told as youngster about the car. And yes my father had 1 of 12 made. And as a youngster it sure was a neat car to have at the house although be it for a short time. To this day have not found the owner of the car or the owner that I know was after my father. And all cars built especially in small numbers has its own uniqueness .
If it was lowered a couple of inches, I believe it would improve the appearance of a good looking car.
Great article. Amazing how much knowledge is out there.
I don’t think the Avis story has any credence at all. The original Hillman Imp-based car was designed by Neville Trickett for Jem Marsh (of Marcos, along with Frank Costin) but he rejected Trickett’s design. It was however seen by Jan Odor (owner of Janspeed, a major UK tuning company), who put it on his own stand at the 1969 Racing Car Show. Nothing more transpired though so Trickett modified it to accept VW Beetle components to create the Siva S160. When shown at the 1971 Racing Car Show it was spotted by Volkswagen UK who showed an interest in producing it in volume, which of course never happened either. Apparently the longer and wider S530 was powered by a Ford V6 (not a Chevy V8) and just one V8 prototype was built, with a shorter nose and longer tail. 12 Sivas were built in total.
Siva, or Shiva was the Hindu deity of beauty and grace.
Hey, it was the late 1960’s ??
Another great article Geoff, I will keep my sensors on and maybe find one in the future.
I put the following reply on your Facebook page concerning this car earlier today:
“The blade originally had large holes in it, but this may be a later model without them, or it could be an S530 GT with a 5.3 litre Chevy V8 in place of the VW 1600. Although very few were made there was a Matchbox model of this car, churned out in probably millions! It was designed by Neville Trickett, a well-known maker of individual and low-production cars.”
It is in Indiana, St. Joseph County Indiana.
Before we moved to Huntsville, Al. in 1963. Probably 1961 or 1962.
Paul E. GIbbs
Thanks to Jon Almquist for his touching comments. His Dad must have been a wonderful guy.
Paul E. Gibbs
fist thing to do is, Have someone run that Tennessee Lic. plate
Geoff, the cars are starting to find you!
Looks to like Mr. DeLorean picked up a few cues from this design for the DMC
I wonder if Audi was inspired by the stainless steel bar used on the SIVA when designing the R8.
Looks like a prototype for the Bricklin. Interesting car and, another mystery to solve finding one!
~ Interestingly story that I’d never heard. Hopefully other examples will soon be found and restored.
Very nice styling exercise. Even looks good today.
i don’t miss anything printed by you guys since i first discovered the site, and i detest trolls that pick at anything and everything online. i realize we all have different taste in not only autos but women, food , well , everything. i’m not sure why you went to the trouble on this but i’m guessing someone appreciates it. no one asked, but to me this was butt ugly, based primarily on the vw floor pan, shares that with hundreds of other obscure failures, i’ve seen them tossed for years. i hope i don’t incur so much wrath i will be excluded from being able to enjoy your articles of so many rare and beautiful automobiles that bring back so many great memories of days gone by. sometimes i find it hard to believe i was actually there when so much happened over the years, but that also makes me an old antique. thanks for so many great articles and photos
Great write up. Let’s find one.